The news is mobile for most of us.
To be precise, nearly 60 percent of us now get our news from our smartphones.
The figures come from GlobalWebIndex and also suggest it’s internet users in the first half-century of their lives who tend to get the most news from their smartphones and more males than females.
“Almost 6 in 10 internet users now choose to consume their news via mobiles, and we see a slight skew towards males for this activity,” reports GWI. “But it’s by age where we see the most telling results; in line younger age groups spending the longest amount of time per day on their smartphones, it’s 16-44s who post the highest figures (on around 6 in 10).”
And, mostly, it’s through the social media that we get our news on our smartphones.
“Virtually all online adults are now using it each month, and it’s 36% who say that staying up-to-date with news and current affairs is one of their main reasons,” reveals the GWI data.
This would, of course, help explain Twitter’s big move this week to open a new partnership with Bloomberg to create live stream news, entertainment and sports right in the Twitter feed. And ad revenue for the struggling platform.
The GWI figures roughly correlate with figures released in 2016 by the Pew Research Center which found over 62 percent of all online Americans get news on their mobiles and most of those from the social media and most of those from Facebook.
“YouTube has the next greatest reach in terms of general usage, at 48% of U.S. adults,” Pew explains. “But only about a fifth of its users get news there, which amounts to 10% of the adult population. That puts it on par with Twitter, which has a smaller user base (16% of U.S. adults) but a larger portion getting news there.”
The Pew Center collected its data from a survey conducted January 12 through February 8 of 4,654 members of Pew’s American Trends Panel, what Pew says is a representative sample of American households 89 percent of which self-identify as regular Internet users.
And while the latest Pew survey didn’t break out mobile vs. desktop/laptop use, most of that social network news readership is taking place on mobile devices. The results of the latest Pew survey are not very different from the results of a survey conducted two years ago.
“News plays a varying role across the social networking sites studied,” Pew further explains. “Two-thirds of Facebook users (66%) get news on the site, nearly six-in-ten Twitter users (59%) get news on Twitter and seven-in-ten Reddit users get news on that platform. On Tumblr, the figure sits at 31%, while for the other five social networking sites it is true of only about one-fifth or less of their user bases.”
Data from the survey also suggests of those who depend on news from the social media most (64%) depend on only one social platform for news, most commonly Facebook. Just over a quarter (26%) of all American online adults get news from two social platforms while just 10 percent review three or more social sites for news.
“Differences also emerge in how active or passive each group of news users is in their online news habits more generally,” says the Pew Center. “YouTube, Facebook and Instagram news users are more likely to get their news online mostly by chance, when they are online doing other things. Alternatively, the portion of Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn news users who seek out news online is roughly similar to the portion that happen upon it.”
The Pew survey also found each of the five major social networks appeals to a slightly different demographic group of news readers.
“Instagram news consumers stand out from other groups as more likely to be non-white, young and, for all but Facebook, female,” suggests the Pew data. “LinkedIn news consumers are more likely to have a college degree than news users of the other four platforms; Twitter news users are the second most likely.”
The survey group also reported getting news from more traditional sources, such as television broadcasts or cable networks, including local TV news broadcasts, and newspapers. But not many.
“For example, across the five sites with the biggest news audiences, roughly two-in-ten news users of each also get news from nightly network television news; about three-in-ten turn to local TV,” Pew explains.
“One area that saw greater variation was news websites and apps. Roughly half of Twitter and LinkedIn news consumers also get news from news websites and apps, while that is true of one-third of Facebook and YouTube news users.”